Lynette Swan Hibler
November 6, 1918 - December 1, 2016
Lydia “Lynette” Hibler, 98, died peacefully, December 1, 2016 in Salem, Oregon, with her family by her side. She was born November 6, 1918 in Eureka, California, to Ivan Leon Swan and Lora Swortzel Swan. Lynette was the granddaughter of the pioneer Gushaw and Swortzel families of Fortuna, California, and the grandniece of the late Governor James Gillette of Sacramento, California. She was preceded in death by her parents, her younger sister, Nadine Swan Whiteside, and her late husband, Frederic Perry Hibler.
Lynette had a fascinating childhood living for several years at Camp 20, a logging camp in Humboldt County in Northern California, where her father ran the camp store and her mother was the teacher at the Blocksburg School. She learned to count by standing at the fence with her mother, counting loaded flat cars as they passed by, and heard “delicious” swear words warming herself around the old pot-bellied stove in her father’s store. She later attended her sophomore and junior years of high school in Ferndale and spent her senior year at Eureka High School.
She graduated from Eureka High School and attended Humboldt State University where she was on the women’s basketball and volleyball teams and was the vice president of the Women’s Athletic Association. At the end of her sophomore year she received a Block H letter on a white wool sweater acknowledging that she had been on all the winning teams since her freshman year.
In 1940, she wed her college sweetheart, Fred Hibler, who affectionally called her “Brown Eyes.” They were married for sixty years and Lynette always liked to say her "greatest achievement in life was her long and happy marriage that gave her three sons and their families".
While at Humboldt State University she earned her undergraduate degree in 1942, and her teaching credential 1950. Following graduation, she taught kindergarten for 30 years in Humboldt County. The last 26 years were at Jacoby Creek Grammar school in Bayside, California, where she was a beloved kindergarten teacher. She also served for many years as the Sunday School Superintendent at Christ Episcopal Church in Eureka, California, and as a den mother. She received a special award from the Boy Scouts of America for her many years of service and was recognized as Woman of the Year by the Eureka Soroptimist’s Club, the Jacoby Creek PTA, and the Beta Sigma Phi Sorority.
Lynette retired from teaching in 1980 but always enjoyed visits from her former students. Even after she left the classroom her inquisitive mind was never idle. She would always challenge the person sitting next to her with an imponderable, like why were the clouds moving in a certain way, or why the light was yellow and not white shining from buildings downtown.
She was a life member of Beta Sigma Phi, the Humboldt County Pioneers, the Humboldt County Genealogy Society, the Humboldt Embroidery Guild, and the Redwood Quilters Guild. Her quilting group met every week for decades not only to quilt, but to help solve each other’s problems.
After living most of her life in Humboldt County, Lynette relocated to Salem to be closer to her sons and their families. She enjoyed cooking family Sunday suppers at her Salem home and being surrounded by her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and her favorite dog, her silver miniature poodle, Shasta. Over the years, the dining table was where she told countless stories about her past and where she was able to interact with all family members, from the youngest to the oldest.
Eventually she sold her home and moved into Capital Manor in Salem where she continued to live a full and active life. She particularly liked going to concerts and plays in Salem and Portland, many times getting home past midnight. She traveled to Hawaii, the East Coast and Mid-Atlantic States, and she also loved road trips, especially driving to local bird refuges to identify bird species while sipping on a hazelnut milkshake and eating her all-time favorite, a Dungeness crab sandwich. The highlight of a recent birthday was a taking a hot air balloon ride with her son, Ross, over the Willamette Valley.
Lynette’s lively spirit, curious mind, and the twinkle in her eye will be greatly missed by all who knew her, but her love and strong power of positive thought will live forever in our hearts.
She is survived by her three sons: Ross Hibler (Jeanne) and Lee Hibler (Trish) of Salem and Gary Hibler (Janie), Portland; and 8 grandchildren: Ross Hibler (Betty), Lyle Hibler(Molly), Claire Hibler (Steve), Kelly Hibler (Gretchen), Kristin Hibler (Rose), Patrick Hibler, Megan Grim (Andrew), Kyle Hibler (Valerie) and 9 great grandchildren.
There will be a Celebration of Life at the Capital Manor Community Center in Salem, Oregon, December 11, 2016, at 2 pm and at Baywood Golf and Country Club in Arcata, California, February 18, 2017 at noon.
In lieu of flowers, the family appreciates donations in Lynette’s memory to The Capital Manor Foundation, Salem, Oregon, or St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, Arcata, California.